This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Often called “smart drugs” or “brain enhancers,” nootropics have exploded in popularity. In this article, we will discuss the different types of nootropics and their benefits.
What Are Nootropics?
For centuries, nootropics are substances that improve many cognitive functions, including increased focus, alertness, and cognitive abilities. For energy and alertness, South African tribes brewed cocoa leaves. Native Americans were familiar with nootropics and consumed peyote (a spineless cactus) for its hallucinogenic properties. The term “nootropics” was first used in 1972, when Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian chemist, said it could “turn the mind.”
Giurgea’s definition of nootropic included the following criteria:
- Improved cognition when under stress
- Brain cell protection
- Facilitates cell-to-cell communication
- Memory and learning enhancement
Today, a nootropic is classified as a supplement that can “help the brain in any way.”
Benefits of Nootropics
People take nootropics for a variety of reasons. Here are its most popular uses and their benefits:
- Impact on Mood. Nootropics can help with anxiety, relaxation, confidence, and balancing the mood. An improved mood can help increase confidence, which in turn could improve overall performance and productivity.
- Memory. Nootropics help boost memory by supporting learning, knowledge retention, storage, and recall. Nooptropics can enhance sensory input encoding for both long-term and short-term memories.
- Energy Boosting. Nootropics increase mental energy in the brain by normalizing neurotransmitters, enhancing blood flow to the brain, and managing stress. Nootropics can help produce adenosine triphosphate, a compound that provides the energy for many processes in the body, such as muscle contraction and chemical synthesis. Maintaining optimum energy levels in the brain helps a person perform at their mental and physical best throughout the day. Nootropics can also help athletes maintain focus during training and competition.
- Focus. The increased focus and attention provided by nootropics can help improve productivity and efficiency.
- Sleep. When compared to sleeping pills, sleeping pills may help a person fall asleep faster than nootropics. However, nootropics can help a person relax, which could lead to a higher-quality, more natural (and restful) sleep.
- Stress. Nootropics can enhance a positive mindset and an optimistic outlook. In turn, this could help decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Types of Nootropics
There are many types of nootropics available, with each having its unique characteristics. Here is a list of some common nooptropics:
- Adaptogens. Used to stabilize the body and brain when feeling stressed.
- Cholinergics. Increases the amount of acetylcholine or choline in the brain, which plays a role in muscle activation, focus, motivation, and memory.
- Stimulants. Increases wakefulness and improves mental and physical functions.
- Precursors. A substance that converts into another substance in the body through a series of chemical reactions. Examples of precursors include serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.
- Eugeroics. Promote wakefulness and used to treat sleeping disorders.
- Racetams. Racetams are a family of nootropics that have a variety of uses and benefits. These include pramiracetam, phenylpiracetam, coluracetam oxiracetam, piracetam, and aniracetam
In addition to the types of nootropics, the majority are often classified as either natural or synthetic nootropics:
- Modafini. Modafini is a medication that promotes wakefulness. It is used to treat excessive sleepiness often caused by narcolepsy or sleep apnea.
- Adderall. Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, which are central nervous stimulants that affect the nerves and chemicals in the brain.
- Methylphenidate. A derivative of amphetamines, methylphenidate, is used to improve attention deficit disorder symptoms and other mental health conditions.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is in coffee, tea and some energy drinks. Caffeine is known for its ability to improve mental focus. Caffeine also improves alertness, memory, reaction times, and mood.
- Green Tea & L-Theanine. When combined, Green Tea & L-Theanine could improve the memory and attention of individuals who have low levels of cognitive impairment.
- Bacopa Monnieri. Bacopa Monnieri is an herb that is often used to improve mood and cognition, decrease stress, and increase memory.
- Ginseng. Panax ginseng is an ancient remedy, used for over 2000 years. Today, many energy drinks, weight loss products and teas contain ginseng. The plant helps mental function by improving blood circulation in the brain and increasing neurotransmitter activity.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom. An edible fungus, Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been used to improve focus, improve memory, and relieve depression. It also has been used to stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), enhancing the brain’s natural ability to alter itself structurally.
There are many nootropic supplements on the market. Two stellar nootropic products that we recommend are (use promo code REV15 to save 15%):
Qualia Mind contains Celastrus paniculatus, the Ayurvedic nootropic herb also known as “intellect tree.” This product is gluten free and contains no GMO products. Qualia Mind is safe for vegans and includes the following potent ingredients:
- 7 Neuro-vitamins
- 6 Nootropic compounds
- 6 Adaptogen extracts
- 5 Amino acids
- 2 Antioxidants
- 2 Choline donors
Each container has 154 capsules, which is a 1-month supply.
Qualia Focus is specifically designed to support memory, drive, and concentration. This product is all natural, containing amino acids, choline, nootropic compounds, neuro-vitamins and adaptogen extracts. It’s safe for vegans as well, is gluten-free and does not contain GMOs.
Are Nootropics Right For You?
Nootropics have been used for thousands of years by many cultures around the world. Its many uses include enhancing memory, improving mental focus, easing feelings of anxiety and depression, improving sleep quality, and improving mood. Individuals looking for a mental boost may want to consider nootropics. Consider giving nootropics a try. Your mind may thank you.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Revelation Health. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Revelation Health and associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Revelation Health encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.